View Full Version : Wet Plate Developer (How much to use)

29-Apr-2015, 11:41
I'm just starting out with wet plate and will be shooting 3.5" x 4x5" plates. My question is.....how much developer should I use for a single plate (volume wise)? I feel like it won't take too much volume to cover the plate.

29-Apr-2015, 11:48
You are right, you don't use much, just enough to cover the plate. Question for you: do you have a wetplate guide or manual? If you ask random people on the internet or facebook, you'll get dozens of answers. It's best to just take a workshop, or buy one guide from an expert. Like John Coffer, Quinn Jacobson, Will Dunniway....

29-Apr-2015, 11:51
I don't have a guide. I just bought the Bostick and Sullivan 4x5 kit. It comes with some instructions on mixing but doesn't have much to say on the volume to use. I suppose I can use some trial and error but a good starting point would work too. I suppose I could just try with a certain volume of water to see how much I would need.

29-Apr-2015, 13:29
For 4x5 plates, I started out using about 15 mL of developer.
As Garrett says, there are a multitude of questions, answers and opinions when starting out with wet plate; best to get a guide book or video series and stick with that method before adapting your own techniques.
I bought Quinn Jacobson's book and it is excellent; he also has a number of You Tube videos available.

Tracy Storer
29-Apr-2015, 15:10
The Collodion Forum (http://www.collodion.com/) would be a good place to ask this one, although we do have many knowledgable wet plate people here.

Mark Sawyer
29-Apr-2015, 17:34
A lot depends on your technique. Some use a tray with walls, some use a tray without walls, and some don't use a tray at all. But however you do it, you'll have your answer by your second or third plate.

29-Apr-2015, 17:54
I agree with Mark, technique is everything. I would worry less about the actual volume of chem used, just get the plate covered. Once you get comfortable with the whole developing thing you can focus on using less developer, so to minimize waste and get brighter plates. Also get a guide like Garrett suggested and also try to take a workshop from someone who has a lot of experience.

30-Apr-2015, 03:25
In my experience developing a wet plate is about the hardest part (that is if you are after nice bright clean plates and do not want to "sell" sloppy technique as unique artistic expression): Anyway:it's all about flowing the whole plate as fast and even as possible with the minimum amount of developer and in around 15 seconds..practice, get training, practice, watch You tube how other do it, practice.. And oh, keep your chemistry in top shape, all should work together..

Good luck,


30-Apr-2015, 05:06
Saturday is World Wetplate Day, by the way: http://www.wetplateday.org/

30-Apr-2015, 09:21
15 to 20 ml is good to start for 4x5". It's enough if you know how to pour correctly the developer onto the plate without overthrow.